‘Nothing More than a Modern Day Lynching’: NAACP Convention, Held Just Miles from Site of George Zimmerman Trial, Becomes an Unofficial ‘Justice for Trayvon’ Rally
David Martosko, Daily Mail (London), July 15, 2013
It may be mere coincidence that the NAACP’s annual convention is being held in central Florida, but the organization is making the most of it by issuing rallying cries and demanding ‘justice’ for Trayvon Martin.
The self-defense ‘not guilty’ verdict of George Zimmerman, who shot and killed the unarmed black teen in February 2012, was delivered less than 30 miles from the convention site in Orlando. And speakers made sure the hundreds of assembled NAACP members knew that federal charges against the exonerated Zimmerman were among the group’s top priorities.
Describing the events in nearby Sanford, Florida as a sign that African-Americans face ‘times of great peril,’ NAACP president Benjamin Jealous said that blacks ‘feel it every time we see one of our young sons … walk out the door and pull his hoodie up.’
The Orlando Sentinel reported that Jealous told reporters after his keynote speech Monday that when he heard the verdict read, live on television, ‘the first thing I did was walk over to my son’s crib and lift him up and I listened to him breathe. And then I began to cry.’
SiriusXM radio host Joe Madison, known to his fans as ‘The Black Eagle,’ lashed out at Zimmerman and the court that allowed him to walk free.
Trayvon Martin’s death, he said, was ‘nothing more than a modern day lynching. George Zimmerman became the judge, jury and executioner.’
Attorney General Eric Holder will address the convention on Tuesday. The NAACP has collected nearly 300,000 signatures on a petition asking him to prosecute Zimmerman under federal civil rights law, an outcome that could become a reality despite the U.S. Constitution’s protections against double jeopardy.
‘We will update you as we work to pursue civil rights charges against Zimmerman through the DOJ,’ the NAACP tweeted shortly after the verdict was read on Saturday night.
An FBI document published Monday on the website The Smoking Gun shows that in the week following the 2012 shooting a Sanford, Fla. police detective ‘described Zimmerman as overzealous and as having “a little hero complex,” but not as a racist.’
Benjamin Crump, who represents the Martin family and is expected to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Zimmerman on their behalf, told the crowd that that they should ‘refuse to remain silent because Sabrina [Fulton] and Tracy cannot do this by themselves.’
‘If anything good is to come’ from Saturday night’s verdict, national NAACP spokesman Eric Wingerter told the Sentinel, ‘this is the time to build a movement.’
‘This goes to the heart of what racial profiling is–in this case, the idea that a young black teenager is by definition a thug instead of a son just visiting his father.’
Majic 102.1, a radio station in Houston, Texas, reported Monday that within hours of the trial’s conclusion, NAACP leaders called an ’emergency meeting,’ during which the group’s national youth and college director encouraged members to ‘effective[ly] get justice for Trayvon.’
A rally held Sunday outside Houston’s justice court, and other demonstrations like it, was planned at that Orlando gathering.
NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock told WKMG-TV6 in Orlando that NAACP members ‘can’t get to how you walk home in the rain from a local convenience store to being dead on the ground.’
‘Our community was prepared for a manslaughter conviction, we would accept that, but to have Mr. Zimmerman exonerated of all charges?’
Mark O’ Mara, George Zimmerman’s attorney, continues to insist that his client ‘was never guilty of anything except protecting himself in self-defense.’